Vol. 80 No. 3
FARM BUREAU NEWS The Voice of Georgia Farmers
Inside: georgia ffa celebrates 90 years the original supernut promoting rural prosperity
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3/8/18 11:15 AM
General workforce: What do farmers need?
In the third installment of our Rural Prosperity Series, we asked farmers about the skills they need from their employees. PAGE 6
First farm bill attempt fails
View from the Field PAGE 4
When the farm bill came up for a vote in the U.S. House May 18, it got caught up in a conflict over a separate immigration bill and was defeated. The House is expected to vote again on the farm bill in June. PAGE 9
Public Policy Update
Ga. cattlemen focused on trucks, traceability & Ga. beef brand
GFB Farm Insurance Update
GFB Foundation awards $58,500 in scholarships
Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention attendees received industry updates and had the chance to buy cattle in live auctions. PAGE 10 Learn who the GFB Foundation for Agriculture awarded 29 scholarships to this spring as it invested in college, technical college and vet school students planning to pursue careers in agriculture. PAGE 14
GFB Art Contest depicts beauty of Georgia farms
The 10 district winners of the GFB Art Contest brought animals, plants & families to life with their pencil sketches. PAGE 16
GFB Foundation Update
Fennell pens winning essay in GFB contest
PAGES 14, 28
Sara Cate Fennell of Emanuel County won the 2018 GFB Essay Contest.
GFB News staff Andy Lucas Kenny Burgamy Jennifer Whittaker Jay Stone Lillian Davis Michael Edmondson
Director Assistant Director Editor Print/Web Specialist Design/Advertising Marketing Project & Research Manager
For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or email@example.com For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the GFB Web site today! GFB.ORG Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau www.gfb.ag/group Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau Check us out on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/gafarmbureau Follow us on Instragram: www.instagram.com/gafarmbureau
Georgia Farm Bureau News
The Original Supernut
That’s how the American Pecan Council is branding pecans with its national campaign.
GFB plants seeds for Harvest 20
Get tips from the GFB Educational Leadership Conference for county ag literacy programs.
Georgia National Fair to feature live cow & sow births
This fall, fairgoers can witness calves and piglets being born at the Georgia Grown Baby Barn. PAGE 22
Georgia FFA celebrates 90 years
Students heard from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and witnessed Gov. Deal sign legislation expanding FFA into elementary schools. PAGE 24
GFB brings "Doc Talk" host to Ga. Vet Conference
Dr. Dan Thompson, host of RFD-TV’s “Doc Talk” series, gave herd health tips and discussed antibiotics & consumers. PAGE 30
about the cover------------------------------------(Photo by Jada Williams) Jada Williams cpatured this photo of her daughter, Jefferson City
FFA member Jessica Bell, last year as Bell prepared to graduate high school. Williams shot it on the farm of her father, Joel Davis, who is the Jackson Co. Farm Bureau treasurer. Bell is now majoring in agribusiness at Emmanuel College. June 2018 / 3
view from the field
Gerald Long, GFB President
Thank you, Pops, for my farm raising There’s never been a doubt in my mind God called me to be a farmer. As a child, I saw how hard my Pops worked farming, but I also saw how much he enjoyed it and realized farming was a way of life I wanted. My grandfather, Nudie Long, who died in 1939, years before I was born, was a farmer and a mule trader. Once a year he traveled to Missouri and brought boxcars of mules home by train to sell. This was back when farmers plowed their fields with mules, so you could say granddaddy was a “farm equipment” dealer. My Pops, Woodrow Wilson Long, had a strong work ethic. He was born in 1913 and grew up before Georgia had fence laws requiring cattle owners to keep their cows in pastures. Grandfather owned a bit of timber. As a teenager Pops was tasked with riding a horse through the woods in the winter to pull Spanish moss down from the trees with a rake to feed their cows. As Pops did this, when he came up on a dead cow, he skinned its hide to sell for leather to make money. When Pops was in the 11th grade, which was a good education at the time, a local judge, who knew my father had saved up money, gave him a chance at his own farm. Judge Drake came to school, got Pops out of class, and offered him the chance to buy land at $6 an acre. Pops always had a good business mind, so he jumped at the chance. He grew corn for livestock feed, peanuts and cattle. Later, he grew cotton until the 1960s when labor and the boll weevil became issues. I was the youngest of six children – three boys and three girls. Pops saw to it we all went to college and had the chance to do something else if we wanted, but all three of us boys chose to farm. Pops was a wise man. I farmed with him for many years, and he shared a lot of advice. One thing he often said was, “Son, never burn a bridge and never close a door behind you. You never know when you may have to go back.” I remember seeing some very difficult 4 / June 2018
times on the farm, but I don’t ever remember seeing my father discouraged. He always said “God will provide.” Pops also liked to say “Son, I won’t say next year will be better, but it will be different.” That’s how it is with farming. You might be dry one year and too wet the next. As Janice and I raised our kids – Justin, Jared and Jeanie – we aimed to teach them responsibility and a good work ethic. I always told them, “If you want to be successful in life, remember there’s no such thing as an 8 to 5 job unless you want to flip hamburgers.” Pops was well-thought-of in our community and church. He served on the local bank and hospital boards. He was also a founding member of the Decatur County Farm Bureau. I remember him telling me, “Son, if you’re going to be involved in an industry, you need to give back what it gives you.” That’s how I came to get involved with Farm Bureau in the late 1970s. I’m proud our oldest son, Justin, is continuing the family tradition of serving as a county Farm Bureau leader. Janice and I are proud of each of the kids. Justin and his wife, Kelli, farm in partnership with us. Jared works as the assistant general manager for the National Beef Company in Moultrie. Jeanie is the program manager for financial planning at Texas A&M University. Looking back at what it was like raising my kids on a farm, I see Janice and I were blessed to get to raise them in a hands-on, practical way while teaching them how you grow food and cotton. One of the best things about raising our family on the farm was we got to share the beauty of God's nature together. They say work is never done on a farm. When it comes to raising a farm family I’m glad, because now, as a grandfather, I get to enjoy taking Addie, Wyatt and Warren out to see the cows and how to pick vegetables.
FARM BUREAU GEORGIA
Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5334.
President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER
DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Matt Bottoms, Molena SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Dustin Covington, Americus WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Carol McQueen, Locust Grove.
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Georgia Farm Bureau News
public policy update By Alex Bradford
Georgia agriculture. A summary of major ag legislation follows.
Livestock Cruelty Allegation Protection
A GFB Priority Issue, Senate Bill 257, was authored by Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen) to protect livestock producers from inaccurate charges of animal abuse. Two years ago, a farmer was charged with animal abuse stemming from the misguided accusations of urban neighbors. The charges were later dismissed after costly legal fees. To protect farmers from future baseless charges, SB 257 required that a food animal veterinarian employed by the state be consulted by law enforcement prior to a farmer being charged with cruelty to food animals. SB 257 got caught up in the legislative process, but the language of the bill was added to House Bill 956, sponsored by GFB friend Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn). Gov. Deal signed H.B. 956 on May 8.
Photo by Miranda Williams
Despite this being a major election year for Georgia, when legislators often avoid controversial issues, the General Assembly did not shy away from tackling a number of difficult issues this year. Some of the most important and most debated initiatives surrounded agriculture issues. Georgia agriculture is fortunate to have strong leaders in the General Assembly guiding these debates. Members of your Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Public Policy staff were present each day of the legislative session advocating for the policies our members approved at the annual convention. Working closely with our rural legislators, we were able to see many of GFBâ€™s initiatives that will benefit Georgia farmers and cultivate a healthy environment for the growth of Georgia agriculture come to fruition. May 8 was the deadline for Gov. Nathan Deal to sign bills, issue vetoes or simply let passed legislation become law without fanfare. We now have a clear idea of how the 2018 session will impact
Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy staff members Alex Bradford and Blake Raulerson, second and third from right, were among those present to witness Gov. Nathan Deal sign House Bill 956, which protects livestock producers from false charges of animal abuse by requiring that a food animal veterinarian be consulted before a farmer is charged with harming animals.
Georgia Farm Bureau News
Ga. General Assembly addresses ag issues Ag Water Metering
For farmers, the most troubling legislation this year was SB 451, proposed by the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD). In addition to finalizing the move of the ag metering program from the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to the EPD, the original proposal sought to move the entire cost and workload of the program onto the shoulders of irrigation permit holders. GFB staff was able to work with allylegislators to amend the bill, maintain the original intent of the program and protect farmersâ€™ pockets and private property rights. The final bill Gov. Deal signed specifies that permit holders must buy the initial water meter. The EPD is responsible for administering the ag metering program and is required to contract out the reading, maintenance, repair and replacement of meters. This bill also ends the $250 fee charged for permits in the Flint River Basin.
HB 866, sponsored by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie), implements necessary administrative and regulatory changes to curb abuse and strengthen the integrity of the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) program. The most notable change provides the Georgia Department of Agriculture flexibility in the application process to verify tax documents for qualification, requires a State Tax Identification Number for application and allows the GDA to share information with the Georgia Department of Revenue to better police the program. This legislation also doubles the minimum annual product sales a farmer must have to qualify for a GATE card to $5,000. The minimum qualifying amount may be met by a combination of sales for multiple qualifying commodities. Annual card renewal has been replaced with a three-year card that will cost $150. See ASSEMBLY page 8 June 2018 / 5
According to the 2017 House Rural Development Council (HRDC) report, 80 of Georgia’s 159 counties have lost population since 2000. Eleven of Georgia’s rural counties (Baker, Clay, Hancock, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Talbot, Taliaferro, Webster, Wilkes and Wilkinson) had smaller populations in 2010 than they had in 1860. Realizing that Georgia’s rural population is in danger of dwindling to the point that quality of life is affected, the Georgia Legislature tasked the HRDC to study rural issues. The HRDC, which held 18 hearings around the state in 2017, focused its initial report, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/HRDCreport, on five key areas: general workforce, broadband connectivity, education, economic development and healthcare. Another round of hearings are taking place this year. Visit http://bit.ly/18hrdcsked for the 2018 hearing schedule. This year, the GFB News is running a series of articles in each of our five issues looking at these topics. This issue, we look at general workforce. To read the previous articles, visit www.gfb.ag/ruralmed and www.gfb.ag/lessonplan. When the HRDC submitted its initial report in December 2017, it included recommendations to address general workforce. The HRDC’s recommendation centered on attracting people to rural areas through what it called a Rural Relocate and Reside program, which proposed offering tax incentives for people moving to counties experiencing less than five percent population growth over five consecutive years. At the time the report was released, 124 of Georgia’s 159 counties met that criteria. The workforce recommendations in the HRDC report focused on individuals in professions like attorneys, accountants and educators. As populations dwindle, those individuals’ ability to earn a living can be affected. But farmers have workforce needs, too, so GFB News asked farmers across Georgia about the skills they are seeking.
What do farmers need?
By Jay Stone ___________________________________________________________________________
Paul Harvey, in his 1978 speech at
the National FFA convention, regaled the blue-clad masses with his famous “So God Made a Farmer” narrative. The speech referenced at least 28 farm jobs, making it clear that farmers have to be proficient in a wide variety of tasks. Perhaps due to time constraints, Harvey only scratched the surface of a farmer’s must-do list, and this was in 1978. It’s easy to come up with at least a dozen modern-day tasks that didn’t exist then. So, the point of Harvey's speech remains valid: Farmers have a lot to do. And they need help. Farmers need help to plant and 6 / June 2018
harvest, but they also need people who can do a lot of other things year-round. If a tractor breaks down, farmers have the option of calling a service technician, waiting for that person to arrive, order parts, then perform repairs. Or, farmers can hire employees who can do that work and then move on to fixing a fence or laying roof panels on a barn or feeding calves. “We just need more people with technical skills,” said Decatur County Farm Bureau Director Andy Bell. “Face it. We’re in a job where you have to work with your hands a lot of times. You’ve got to think and think smart, but you’ve got to do stuff with your hands too.”
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Farmers face the same workforce reality that other industries have. The machinery and practices on farms have advanced to the point where many of the skills required to keep a farm running match skills, like advanced computer skills, needed in other career fields. Many jobs in agriculture require college degrees, but there are many that don’t. “Agriculture has changed so much in the last 40 years, it’s not even the same training,” said Lee Webster, president of Burke County Farm Bureau. “You’ve got basic training, certainly, but the skills today, computer skills, just about any skill you can think of going into any other career, you would be using in agriculture. We use drones today. The types of knowledge you would need for fertilizer and seed and all those other kinds of things are part of just about the most sophisticated training that you would need for any other career choice.”
Young people ready & willing to work
Whether they’re seeking entry-level summer jobs or permanent full-time work, general labor or advanced computing, applicants who have learned job-specific tasks are welcomed at farms as they would be in any other field. “The biggest thing is kids who are willing to work and then have some type of skills related to farming when they show up to get a job,” said Melissa Bottoms, a former ag education teacher who chairs the Pike County Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee. “A lot of us don’t mind training them, but the thing I ran into was not even having the work ethic to be able to handle life on a farm.” Bottoms said farmers need the people who come to them for jobs – whether they’re high school students or further along in life – to have basic skills. “Can you drive a tractor?” she said. “Do you know how to read a tape measure and do different things like that when you need to work on stuff? They’re little skills that I think people just take for granted. When Georgia Farm Bureau News
as the HRDC convenes for its second round of hearings this year.
Photo by Jay Stone
Farmers value employees with multiple skills. At Rucks Farm in Spalding County, Robert Fowler uses his mechanical skills to start a pickup. He’s also able to repair hay balers, work cattle, keep records and fix fences.
Georgia Farm Bureau News
to make sure they are meeting local or even regional demand for employees.” H.B. 778 would have helped make sure that CTAE programs and TCSG training have matching courses that meet the needs of business and industry. The bill was withdrawn for further study, and England said the issue will be considered
Photo by Jay Stone
they come to get a job and they don’t know those things, it gets frustrating.” To address these concerns, Bottoms said the Pike County Business Authority is working toward facilitating on-farm experiences for FFA students considering agriculture careers. “I’ve always said that nothing [you learn] sitting in a classroom is going to beat having your hands on stuff and being out at a farm and watching what they’re doing,” Bottoms said. “If that’s what you think you want to do one day, nothing is going to replace that experience.” The hands-on skills Bell and Bottoms say farm workers need have the attention of state legislators. Rep. Terry England, co-chair of the House Rural Development Council (HRDC), introduced a bill in the 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly, H.B. 778, which proposed transfering the state’s Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) from high schools to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). “TCSG has the charge to develop and train a workforce for our state and that is their focus,” England said. “They have to provide workers for the needs of local business and industry, as do those local CTAE programs. However, many times local [school] systems do not have the resources
Even with its withdrawal, HB 778 recognizes what farmers around the state say is one of their biggest needs from the education system: a workforce skilled in the jobs they need done, ranging from welding or driving a tractor to utilizing sophisticated technology being adapted by farms. Farmers also need workers who show up on time and interact well with other people, regardless of their assigned tasks, a collection of personal attributes referred to as “soft skills.” England said that whatever the curriculum is, there should be a built-in component of soft skills – interpersonal skills like courtesy and accountability. “The lack of soft skills training came up many times as we traveled around the state,” England said. “Employers from one corner of the state to the other kept bringing up that the students and workers they see today do not possess the soft skills needed to hold down jobs and be good reliable employees.” Rep. Terry England said the state’s FY 2019 budget included language and funding to draw attention to the need for soft skills and work on providing soft-skill training in rural schools along with those schools identified as needing assistance.
At Bottoms Nursery in Pike County, Terry Batchelor prunes blueberry bushes. Knowing how to prune a young bush so it will bear a lot of fruit when it matures is a special skill.
June 2018 / 7
Taylor joins GFB Public Policy Dept. Jeremy Taylor joined the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department as an agricultural programs specialist May 7. In his new position, Taylor will work with the GFB Commodity Advisory Committees for aquaculture, beef, dairy, equine, forestry, goats & sheep, hay, honeybees, poultry and swine. He will also work with Georgia’s Agricultural Commodity Commissions and organizations affiliated with these commodities. “I am excited to work with Georgia farmers by serving Georgia Farm Bureau’s Commodity Advisory Committees and representing Farm Bureau at meetings of the state’s AgTaylor ricultural Commodity Commissions,” Taylor said. Taylor worked as a UGA Extension agent for Coffee County from 2013 until joining the GFB staff. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia and recently earned a master’s degree in plant protection and pest management from UGA. He is originally from Tifton. ASSEMBLY from page 5
Deer Depredation Permits
Last summer, GFB heard from farmers bothered by the former process required to obtain deer depredation permits and the expensive crop damage they had to suffer to get a permit. GFB Public Policy staff worked closely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Chief of Game Management to adjust the permit process. The solution did not require a legislative change. The DNR has issued a new guidance document to its field offices directing staff to issue depredation permits to farmers, who have historic crop damage by deer, once seed is in the ground before new damage occurs. Other changes include lowering the age of hunters on the permit from 18 to 16 and allowing farms to be issued permits for different sections. For more information about obtaining deer depredation permits, call the state office for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division at 770-918-6404 or visit www.georgiawildlife.com/about/contact#gm to get the number for your regional game management office.
The Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) program saw two favorable changes this year through HB 373 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) and SB 458 by Sen. John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa). SB 458 clarifies the intent of CUVA and holds counties that wrongfully restrict access to 8 / June 2018
the program accountable. Wilkinson’s bill clarifies that farm entities be treated the same as individuals regarding the ability of those age 65 and older to pull out at a reduced penalty rate. SB 458 includes language from HB 373 that specifies that a new plat or survey is not required to exclude a residential area from a CUVA contract. HB 373 language also provides for the repayment of attorney fees to individuals wrongfully charged with breaching their CUVA contract.
FY19 Ag Appropriations
The General Assembly worked with Gov. Deal on the delicate balancing process of appropriating Georgia’s record $26.2 billion budget. For the first time in a decade, the state has fully funded the K-12 education system. The ag industry saw another year of support thanks to Farm Bureau friends and Appropriations Chairmen Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) and Rep. Terry England (RAuburn). Some of the ag appropriations in the FY 19 budget include: Rural Development • $1,717,100 for the new Rural Innovation & Prosperity center at ABAC • $1,102,900 to the Ga. Dept. of Agriculture for domestic & international marketing of Georgia products, including four positions • $376,974 for new rural economic development program & positions in the
Governor’s Office of Economic Development UGA Ag Experiment Stations • $223,823 for whitefly management research • $171,400 for a turf grass pathologist to develop disease-resistant grass & forage cultivars UGA Cooperative Extension • $324,000 for six educator positions for Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, & Family/Consumer Sciences educational programs • $325,660 for a pasture weeds/forage specialist in crop & soil sciences, a soil nutritionist in crop & soil sciences, & a horticulture post-harvest physiologist Ag Education • $150,000 for the Young Farmer programs in Polk County & at Pataula Charter Academy • $100,000 partial funding for the Ga. Young Farmer executive director Veterinary Medicine Experiment Station • $160,000 for a poultry clinical services veterinarian to address avian influenza • $900,000 for the Food Animal Medicine Haul-In Facility in Tifton • $52,000 for a lab technician These are great victories for Georgia agriculture, but the work is never done. The success of GFB’s advocacy efforts lies with our members and the personal relationships you have with your state representatives and senators. Georgians are faced with many difficult decisions at the ballot box this year as we determine our future leaders. As Gov. Deal concludes his final term, a domino effect of vacancies will lead to an almost entirely new slate of constitutional officers. Many state legislative seats are open, including those of 10 committee chairmen. It is imperative that Farm Bureau members remain active, voicing the importance of agriculture to candidates who will fill these positions. Now is the time to get to know our next group of officials. If GFB’s Public Policy Department can assist you in these efforts, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-342-1196. Alex Bradford is the state affairs coordinator for the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at 478-4740679, ext. 5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Georgia Farm Bureau News
First farm bill attempt fails in House By Jay Stone ____________________________________
Photo by Jay Stone
On May 18, the U.S. House voted down H.R. 2, the “Agriculture & Nutrition Act of 2018” commonly called the farm bill. The final vote was 213–198. All 10 of Georgia’s Republican representatives voted in favor of the bill, while all four of Georgia’s Democratic representatives voted against it. “Georgia Farm Bureau is disappointed with the outcome, but our organization will continue to advocate for Georgia’s farmers as this important process moves forward,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “This legislation is just as important to American consumers as it is for farmers because it ensures the majority of our food will continue to be grown in our country, where we have the best food safety standards in the world, rather than imported from countries where we can’t control production standards.”
The vote failed as 30 Republicans voted against the bill. Many of the “no” votes were cast by representatives attempting to force a separate vote on an unrelated immigration bill. This strategy drew criticism from House Ag Committee members Rick Allen and Austin Scott, both Republicans from Georgia. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the ploy holds the farm bill and the nation’s farmers and ranchers hostage.
House Democrats took issue with the work requirements included in the section of the farm bill addressing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps. After the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) made a motion to reconsider. The House Rules Committee later approved a rule which allows the House to act on Ryan’s motion through June 22 meaning another vote on H.R. 2 is possible if the House can reach an agreement on an immigration package.
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June 2018 / 9
Photo by Jay Stone
During the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention, a panel discussed developing a Georgia Grown Beef brand. Panelists were, from left: Keith Kelly of Kelly Products which owns Farmview Market in Madison; Joe Hall of Grady County, Adam Bruuck with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Steve Whitmire from Brasstown Beef and GCA Executive Vice President Will Bentley. Visit www.gfb.photos/2018GCAConvention for more photos.
Ga. cattlemen focused on trucks, traceability & a Ga. beef brand By Jay Stone ____________________________________ The anxiety over the Veterinary Feed Directive has settled down, but new Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) President Kristy Arnold has plenty of challenges to keep her busy. Arnold, a third-generation rancher from Wayne County, said the organization is focusing more attention on transportation, animal traceability and attracting younger producers to the industry. “I think the dust has settled on VFD,” Arnold said in an interview with Georgia Farm Bureau during the GCA and Beef Expo, held April 5-7 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. “I think everybody that really needed that information has gotten it and knows what to do with it now.”
Transportation poses challenges in multiple ways. First, there is the electronic logging device mandate for tractor-trailer drivers, who are subject to hours-ofservice rules that conflict with animal welfare practices. Livestock, for instance, are susceptible to heat stress if kept in a stationary trailer in warm weather. The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted a temporary waiver for agricultural haulers through Sept. 30. “It’s going to be an issue for us and it’s something we’re continually working on,” said Arnold. “At least we get through the summer, the hot part of it.” Even if the trips aren’t cross-country, many Georgia producers have to move their cattle significant distances to sales or slaughter. The greater the distance, the greater the expense, trimming already thin profit margins. 10 / June 2018
Can cattle be finished/ slaughtered in Ga.? Looking to alleviate transportation needs while capitalizing on consumers’ tendency to seek locally grown products, Georgia’s beef producers are considering pursuing a collection of regional cattle “finishing” and slaughter facilities. Currently, Georgia’s cattlemen typically ship their herds to feedlots in the West, so cattle can grow to an acceptable market size. The “finishing process,” grows a cow by about 450 pounds, and typically lasts 120-180 days. During a panel discussion on marketing local beef, Joe Hall of Grady County posed the question, "A similar approach has worked for cotton and peanut producers in cooperative ventures, why not beef?" Hall joined Keith Kelley of Kelly Products, Adam Bruuck of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Steve Whitmire of Brasstown Beef to discuss local marketing. Bruuck pointed out that a group of ag stakeholders including Georgia Farm Bureau, AgGeorgia Farm Credit, AgSouth Farm Credit, Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia EMC are funding a UGA feasibility study on the regional slaughter model. “We think that financially, the opportunity to maintain ownership in the downstream process may make sense for area cattlemen,” said Will Bentley, GCA executive vice president. “Eliminating the cost of shipping cattle out of state, combined with giving farmers the opportunity to own a share of the finishing process, could benefit Georgia’s cattle industry. The feasibility study will help us understand if we are on track.”
The feasibility study is expected to be completed this fall. “I think there are some really strong benefits that come out of that [the study], but I think there are some really deep holes that we’re going to have to try to fill,” Arnold said, noting the need for consistency of product quality and developing production to the point where such facilities can be profitable.
Arnold said the GCA will take an intensive look at traceability – the ability to track cattle from the farm where they are born up until slaughter. “It’s important not only for health benefits, in case there is a disease outbreak, but also so the consumer can really know where their food is coming from,” Arnold said. The level of traceability varies by farm, Arnold said. “It’s really something we’re just starting to have serious conversations about,” Arnold said. “I don’t see it being anything that would be mandatory within the next year to two years, but it is something we’re trying to get ahead of. We don’t want it to come down as a government mandate without us having a plan ahead of time.” She noted that the GCA is forming a task force to study the traceability issue.
Arnold, GCA’s second female president after Betts Berry in 1998, said the organization’s aging membership is a concern. “Most of our cattle producers are 55 or older, so that’s one thing I really want to try to focus on this year, trying to get some of these younger producers Kristy Arnold, newly- more involved in our elected Georgia Cat- organization so we tlemen’s President. can help them help themselves,” Arnold said. The 57th Annual GCA Convention featured the 21st Annual Georgia Beef Expo as well as the Georgia Forages Conference. GCA members heard from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director of Producer Education Josh White, preacher/humorist/motivational speaker Van McCall, Texas A&M researcher Dr. Monte Rouquette Jr. and University of Arkansas researcher Dr. Paul Beck. Georgia Farm Bureau News
During a mail referendum held March 16-April 16, Georgia peanut growers voted to continue the research, promotion and education programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission. Of the farmers casting ballots, 94.02 percent voted in favor of the commission and its work. This is the most favorable reaffirmation vote Georgia peanut producers have given the commission in its 57-year history, GPC staff reported. “I am humbled by the support of peanut farmers in Georgia,” Don Koehler, GPC’s executive director said. “We will never forget the trust our farmers place in us and do not ever take it for granted.” Georgia peanut farmers invest $2 per ton annually to the commission to fund research, promotion and education programs. As required by Georgia law, Georgia peanut farmers vote on the commission every three years. Ballots were mailed to peanut growers the week of March 16. On April 25, the Certified Public Accounting firm of Allen, Pritchett and Bassett counted the ballots. “I am thankful our board and staff have been able to work in the areas of research, promotion and education of peanuts, as well as support efforts in Washington to maintain legislation that is helpful for peanut farmers, which in turn, continues to allow us to provide a healthy, nutritious product for consumers,” said GPC Chairman Armond Morris. “We are proud our [peanut] farmers contribute more than $2.2 billion to the state’s economy with the hard work they produce on their farms.” Georgia’s peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. GPC board members are: Chairman Armond Morris of Tift County, GPC Dist. 2; Vice Chairman Joe Boddiford, Screven County, GPC Dist. 3; Treasurer Rodney Dawson, Pulaski County, GPC Dist. 4; Director Tim Burch, Baker County, GPC Dist. 1; and Director Donald Chase, Macon County, GPC Dist. 5. Peanut farmers with concerns, comments or suggestions on the commission’s activities may contact the GPC office at 229386-3470 or visit www.gapeanuts.com for additional information. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Ga. peanut growers vote to continue GPC
Georgia Peanut Commission Directors, staff and spouses promoted peanuts at the 2018 American Farm Bureau Convention. This is one of the many events at which GPC representatives promote Georgia peanuts.
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June 2018 / 11
GFB farm insurance update GFB file
By Joey Shipp
The Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (GFBMIC) insures poultry houses across the state with a total value of approximately $700 million. This makes our company the largest insurer of Georgia poultry farms by a wide margin. We have a dedicated staff of experienced professionals including agents, field underwriters and risk managers who work hard to support our poultry growers by providing them with sound insurance coverage that protects their investments. Our agents sell the policies while our field underwriters and farm risk managers evaluate the risks for new and existing insurance business to determine if it conforms to GFBMIC underwriting criteria. One of the services included with GFBMIC poultry house insurance is inspections of the poultry farm. These inspections provide a valuable service to
July 23-July 25 Alpharetta Conference Center Speakers from leading organizations such as ACGO, Syngenta, Microsoft, Oracle, Proagrica, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia & Ft. Valley State will cover these topics & more: • Big Data in Agriculture • AgTech Logistics & Supply Chain • State of the Region in Agtech • Agtech Innovation • Plant Genetics • Biotech Registration is $495 until June 30 and $550 until July 23. Cost is $595 at event. To register, visit http://bit.ly/agtechconf18. 12 / June 2018
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
GFB poultry house inspections benefit growers our members in a variety of ways. Inspecting poultry houses while they are being built allows us to monitor the construction process to ensure the contractors adhere to the modern building standards University of Georgia engineers recommend and GFBMIC has adopted for our poultry house policies. You can read more about these guidelines at www.gfb.ag/poultryhouses. When qualified, licensed, professional contractors build poultry houses according to the UGA guidelines, the houses are wellconstructed and cost-efficient. The houses are more likely to withstand the weight of ice and snow North Georgia winters often bring or the high winds of severe storms we’re experiencing more often throughout the state. Quality construction benefits poultry growers and GFBMIC. Farm Bureau professionals inspect the existing poultry houses we insure every few years. This enables us to detect changes in the physical condition of the houses that occur as a result of age. These inspections also give us the chance to visit with farm owners and recommend steps they can take that may extend the life of the house and lead to a safer farm. If we can discover issues such as erosion, cracks in concrete foundation walls, failure of roof and truss components, or electrical issues early, costly damage can often be avoided. Regularly reviewing your farm insurance accounts with an agent or underwriter will ensure that new structures and equipment are added to the farm policy as needed and that existing coverage limits are increased or decreased to appropriate levels as values change. The recommended limit
of coverage for an older house will often be different than the amount of coverage for a new house of the same size. Factors such as age, condition, upgrades in equipment and major renovations all determine the overall value of poultry houses. GFBMIC utilizes proven methods to properly evaluate each poultry house based on its unique characteristics. GFB insurance employees understand the importance of following strict biosecurity measures during our farm visits. Farm owners can be assured that before we drive onto the property we will obtain permission to do so. When specific biosecurity rules are in place, we abide by them. Otherwise, we follow the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network Basic Biosecurity Protocol. This includes sanitizing our wheels, tires, hands, and shoes, and using disposable coverings for clothing and hair to help ensure that flocks remain free of disease. We prefer to visit farms when poultry houses are empty, and we try not to inspect more than one poultry farm per day. For decades, poultry growers have trusted Georgia Farm Bureau with their insurance needs. We value that trust and count it a privilege to serve Georgia farmers. The poultry house inspections we provide is an important contribution to the overall quality of Georgia poultry farms. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent to schedule a detailed review of your insurance and an inspection of your property. Joey Shipp is a member of the GFB Mutual Insurance Company’s Underwriting Department. He is the farm risk manager for GFB Districts 6-10 and has been employed with the company for 26 years. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
GFB Agritourism Committee meets at the 2017 GFB Commodity Conference.
GFB accepting nominations for commodity committees until Aug. 17 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is taking nominations for spots on its 20 commodity advisory committees. These committees serve in an advisory capacity to the GFB president, board of directors and staff to
Georgia Farm Bureau News
implement Farm Bureau policy. They also make recommendations to the GFB Policy Development Committee relative to their commodities. Every GFB Commodity Committee
has a representative from each of GFB’s 10 districts. Committee members must produce the commodity their committee represents. The commodities for which GFB has committees are: aquaculture; beef cattle; cotton; dairy; direct marketing/agritourism; environmental horticulture; equine; feedgrain/soybean; forestry; fruit; goats and sheep; hay; honeybee; peanut; pecan; poultry; swine; tobacco; vegetables and water. All county Farm Bureaus may nominate members to serve on a GFB Commodity Committee for a one-year term. Every county is encouraged to review their candidates and make nominations to each committee that is applicable. A person can only be nominated to serve on one committee. The chairperson will be appointed for a one-year term, and will also serve on the GFB Policy Development Committee. Nomination forms should be submitted by county Farm Bureaus and received no later than Aug. 17. For more information contact Joe McManus in the GFB Public Policy Department at email@example.com or 478-474-0679, ext. 5259.
SFBLI.COM June 2018 / 13
GFB Foundation awards
An additional 10 students will receive the Scholarship for Agriculture at $1,500 each: Christa Anderson, Franklin County; Laurabeth Bland, Bulloch County; Brittany Braddy, Montgomery County; Guerin Brown, Greene County; Courtney Conine, Mitchell County; Ivy English, Butts County; Miller Hayes, Decatur County; Tyler Hortman, Taylor County; Emily Leonard, Echols County and Hamp Thomas, Chattooga County. These students plan to attend UGA CAES or Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) to pursue degrees in ag education, animal science, biological sciences or biotechnology.
Technical College Scholarship for Ag
This spring the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Foundation for Agriculture made a $58,500 investment in the future of Georgia agriculture by presenting scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year to 29 students statewide.
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The scholarships recognize outstanding students who have excelled academically and intend to pursue degrees pertaining to agriculture, forestry and natural resources or family and consumer sciences. “One of our key functions at Georgia Farm Bureau is to develop leaders for the future of both our organization and agriculture in general,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Part of that is helping deserving students offset the cost of their education, so we’re proud to offer these scholarships, and we can’t wait to see what these young people achieve.” The scholarships were awarded to graduating high school seniors headed to college or a technical college, rising college juniors and seniors and students enrolled in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine who plan to care for farm animals. Recipients are as follows. Five students preparing to enter college as freshmen at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Emmanuel College were selected for the Scholarship for Agriculture at $3,000 each: Jacob Cliett, Bulloch County; Tucker Felkins, Bleckley County; Cason Howard, Charlton County; Kathryn Santos, Mitchell County; and Hannah Watkins, Stephens County. These students plan to pursue degrees in animal science, ag communications, poultry science, biology or agribusiness.
Parker Sheridan of Banks County was selected for the Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture of $1,000. Sheridan plans to attend Lanier Technical College to study forest technology and horticultural science.
Rising College JR/SR Scholarships for Ag
The foundation awarded 10 scholarships of $2,000 each to these rising college juniors and seniors: Savannah Austin, Butts County; Scarlett Barber, Jones County; Lucas Brock, Carroll County; Ben Hancock, Irwin County; McKenzie Lewis, Tift County; Peyton Mattox, Oglethorpe County; Jay Moon, Morgan County; Cassie Powell, Johnson County; Morgan Rowan, Lowndes County and Caroline Waldrep, Monroe County. All are students at ABAC, UGA CAES or Emmanuel College studying agribusiness, ag education, agriscience, forestry or animal science.
UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship
Morgan Adkins of Clarke County, Brook Helton of White County and Erik Ragan of Catoosa County were chosen to receive scholarships of $2,500 each as they study to become food animal veterinarians at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. The GFB Foundation for Agriculture funds activities and programs designed to increase the agricultural literacy of Georgia residents. Visit www.gfbfoundation.org to learn more about the foundation or to make a taxexempt donation. Instructions for applying for the 2019 scholarships will be announced on the foundation website in the fall. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Georgia Cotton Commission approves research funding The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Board of Directors approved $697,802 in research for the 2019 crop year during its April 11 meeting, an increase from the $665,196 approved for 2018. This money will fund 21 research projects that will be conducted by researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia. These projects include studies by the UGA Cotton Team ranging from precision ag research to the marking and treatment of root-knot nematode resistant genes in cotton and many more. The goal of this producer-funded research is to help cotton producers’ bottom lines by conducting studies to raise yields, promote crop efficiency or open new markets. All projects are vetted by the GCC Board of Directors and the commission’s research review committee, which is made
up of researchers, crop consultants and County UGA Ag Extension agents. The Georgia Cotton Commission is a producer-funded organization that oversees research, promotion and education programs to benefit Georgia cotton farmers. Producers pay a $1 per bale assessment that funds the programs. Georgia’s cotton growers vote, by referendum, every three years to determine whether to continue the commission which began in 1965. The GCC Board consists of Chairman Bart Davis, Colquitt County; Vice Chairman Matt Coley, Dooly County; Directors Lee Cromley, Bulloch County; Chris Hopkins, Toombs County; Steven Meeks, Wayne County; John Ruark, Morgan County; Jimmy Webb, Calhoun County. For more information about the Georgia Cotton Commission call 478-988-4235 or visit www.georgiacottoncommission.org.
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Georgia Farm Bureau News
Based on purchases made in the calendar year that ends 60 days prior to membership renewal month. Balance Transfers and Cash Advances are not included. Eligible purchases mean any signature or pin-based, online, phone or mail-order purchase made with the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard. Offer excludes Cash Advances, Balance Transfers, credits and returns. Points expire after four full years. Program may change or be cancelled at anytime. Triple reward points on qualifying transactions based on merchant code (5411, 5499, 5541, 5542, 5812, 5813, 5814), up to $1,500 quarterly. Credit Card plastic design may vary based on member’s qualification. See complete Terms and Conditions for the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard and Member Rewards Program at https://www.farmbureaubank.com/CreditCards. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by, and used by Farm Bureau Bank FSB under license from, the American Farm Bureau Federation. 01.2018
June 2018 / 15
1 Taylor Baxley of Cobb County, GFB 3rd District winner, won the GFB Art Contest with this sketch. 2 Manuel Rodriguez of Elbert County, GFB 2nd District winner, was a state runner-up. 3 Hayoung Lee of Barrow County, GFB 4th District winner, was a state runner-up.
GFB Art Contest depicts beauty of Ga. farms O riginal pencil sketches depicting cows, poultry, cotton, peaches, goats, timber and farm families were among the winning entries of the 24th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau High School Art Contest. Taylor Baxley of Cobb County took first place in the contest. Manuel Rodriguez of Elbert County and Hayoung Lee of Barrow County, were the state runners-up. Baxley, a senior at Kennesaw Mountain High School, won $250 as the state winner
2 16 / June 2018
of the art contest and $100 as the GFB 3rd District winner. Baxley is the daughter of Laurie Baxley and Mark Baxley. Rodriguez and Lee each won $150 as the state runners-up and $100 for being the GFB 2nd and 4th District winners. “Georgia Farm Bureau’s Annual Art Contest is a creative way for students to explore Georgia agriculture. As students design their artwork, it’s our hope they learn about the different crops and livestock Georgia farmers raise and the economic con-
tributions agriculture makes to Georgia’s economy,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Carol McQueen. Open to any high school student, the contest had 54 entries. The drawings were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented agriculture in their county or Georgia. Open to any Georgia high school student in grades 9-12, the art contest attracted 54 entries statewide. Other district winners in the art contest were: Franky Carroll, Cherokee County, GFB 1st District; Jaylee Quick, Upson County, GFB 5th District; Eve Pike, Laurens County, GFB 6th District; Logan Harvey, Toombs County, GFB 7th District; Landon Ledford, Wilcox County, GFB 8th District; Gerald Corker, Grady County, GFB 9th District; and Emily Pridgen, Coffee County, GFB 10th District. Each district art contest winner received $100. Visit www.gfb.ag/art18 to view all of the district winners. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in GFB’s 2019 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with two other contest entries selected by the judges.
3 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Fennell pens winning essay in GFB contest For at least 42 years, middle school students across Georgia have participated in Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual essay contest. Topics have changed through the years, but the exercise of having students research an aspect of Georgia agriculture and share what they learned or what they think about farmers via the written word has proved a classic. Emanuel County student Sara Cate Fennell won the state prize in the 2018 GFB Middle School Essay Contest. A sixthgrader at David Emanuel Academy when she penned her essay, Fennell received a $150 cash prize for being the state winner and a $100 cash prize for being the GFB 7th District winner. She is the daughter of Teah Fennell. A winner was selected from each of GFB’s 10 districts, and Fennell’s essay was selected from these. Open to all Georgia
sixth through eighth graders this past school year, 56 county Farm Bureaus held local contests and submitted entries. Other district essay winners were: Gracie Frazier, Catoosa County, GFB 1st District; Troy Loggins, Banks County, GFB 2nd District; Allison Young, Paulding County, GFB 3rd District; Rylee Foster, McDuffie County, GFB 4th District; Bailey Reeves, Pike County, GFB 5th District; Noel Wiggins, Johnson County, GFB 6th District; Syruis Zhang, Sumter County, GFB 8th District; Grant Johnson, Dougherty County, GFB 9th District; and London O’Steen, Coffee County, GFB 10th District. Each of these students received a $100 prize. Students were asked to answer the question, “What are the Benefits of School Gardens?” with their essays. Students were instructed to explore how school gardens teach about the fruits and veg-
etables Georgia farmers grow. They were encouraged to write about their personal experience with a school garden, how they would like to expand their school’s existing school garden or why they hope their school starts a garden. Essays were judged on clarity of thought and writing skill. Fennell’s essay may be read below. To read the other district winners’ essays visit www.gfb.ag/essays. The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated the statewide contest and county Farm Bureaus coordinated the contest locally. “The Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest is designed to help students increase their awareness of Georgia agriculture as they work on their writing and research skills,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Carol McQueen.
“What are the Benefits of School Gardens?” By Sara Cate Fennell “The glory of gardening: hands in dirt, head in sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul!” is how the English nature poet Alfred Austin described gardening. That is what school gardens allow students to do. Gardening ties students to the land. School gardens improve life skills. School gardens provide academic, environmental, and health benefits for students. School gardens provide academic benefits for students and schools. Gardeners from the community can be brought in to demonstrate local, traditional gardening techniques and the traditional uses of particular plants. Their lessons are important to valuable classroom time. A school garden is a perfect tool to provide hands on learning experiences for any academic subjects. Also, a garden provides a place to study weather, insects, soil, and other environmental topics. According to studies, “the real-life experiences contribute to students’ comprehension and retention of new science knowledge.” This supports the fact that participation in a gardening program can increase science achievements. A school garden is a powerful environmental education benefit. Through gardening, students become responsible caretakers. They have an opportunity to participate in and learn about agricultural practices and to learn about the responsibilities and impacts of cultivating
Georgia Farm Bureau News
the land. Students have an opportunity to learn more about agriculture and the responsibilities of how to take care of gardens and grow food. By working in gardens, they develop a better understanding of what goes on in a garden. For many children, a garden offers the only chance to get close to nature. Some students lack the opportunity to experience gardening because of their living situations. Because of focus on indoor activities and participation in organized outdoor activities, many students rarely participate in outdoor activities like gardening. School gardens can increase their exposure. School gardens provide lessons and knowledge for students of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Garden programs can teach students about healthy lifestyles including nutrition and physical activity. Through a gardening program, students gain firsthand experience with fresh fruits and vegetables. They discover that produce does not magically appear on the grocery store shelves and learn about the important role of agriculture in our society. Students can accomplish a feeling of pride in themselves by growing the fruits and vegetables and become more motivated to try them. This can often lead to more positive attitudes and eating behaviors. Gardens create opportunities for students to work cooperatively and to take on responsibilities. They will quickly learn the
consequences that comes with forgetting to water their plants and will work hard to make sure it does not happen. Gardening builds confidence and pride as students watch their efforts turn into beautiful rich gardening. While gardening, children learn to cooperate with teachers, parents, and community which is sometimes missing because of busy schedules and the role of technology. Students can also learn about the importance of growing Georgia crops. Some of the fruits and vegetables grown in Georgia are kale, asparagus, broccoli, collards, carrots, blackberries, pomegranates, and mayhaw berries. Georgia is famous for its watermelons, tomatoes, Vidalia onions, and sweet com, bell peppers, snap beans, okra, and potatoes. Gardens are outdoor classrooms for children of all ages. Gardens help relieve stress after a busy day of work or school. Gardens provide healthy lifestyles for kids, and vegetables grown from school gardens can be served in lunchrooms. To sum it all up, go plant a school garden and reap the benefits.
June 2018 / 17
The Original Supernut National campaign underway to rebrand pecans
By Jennifer Whittaker ________________________________________________________________________________
Photo courtesy American Pecan Council
he rest of the U.S. will soon learn some things Georgians have known for years. Pies aren’t the only way to eat pecans. Pecans are good for you. Pecans are locally grown! On April 25, the American Pecan Council (APC) launched its national campaign to brand pecans with the slogan “American Pecans, The Original Supernut.” The campaign is intended to get consumers thinking outside the pie pan when it comes to pecans. “The American pecan industry has a rich history dating back centuries and a powerful story that is largely untold. Our goal is to change that,” said Mike Adams, a Texas pecan grower who chairs the APC.
Public relations firm Weber Shandwick is coordinating the national marketing campaign based on consumer research that showed topof-the-mind recall of pecans was significantly lower for pecans (15 percent) compared to other nuts. The survey of 1,500 consumers, half female, half male, ages 25-64, also showed most consumers associate pecans with desserts while other nuts were more likely to be linked to snacking and nutrition. “Our objective is to broaden the appeal for pecans as more contemporary and preferred as an everyday snack or versatile cooking ingredient,” Adams said. “There’s a real sense of optimism among pecan growers and shellers for what this campaign can do.” The APC campaign will focus on three reasons pecans are The Original Supernut: pecans are super nutritious; pecans are super versatile; and pecans are super local. Did you know that a handful of pecans (about 19 halves) is a great source of fiber, “good” monounsaturated fats, protein, zinc and manganese? Pecans may be most associated with holiday pecan pies, but consumers will soon learn pecans make great toppers for oatmeal, yogurt or salads and can be used in appetizer, pasta, and numerous entrée recipes. The campaign will highlight that pecans are the only major tree nut native to America 18 / June 2018
The American Pecan Council has launched a national campaign to brand pecans as “The Original Supernut” with consumers nationwide. Look for unique recipes like Pecan Brie Honey Crostini to be mentioned by food bloggers and appear on cooking shows. Visit www.americanpecan.com for this recipe and others or to learn about the APC.
and are commercially harvested in a 15-state growing region that runs across the Southern part of the U.S. from the east to west coast. “We are absolutely delighted to be working with this industry,” Weber Shandwick Sr. Vice President Sarah Yaffee told pecan producers attending the Georgia Pecan Growers Association conference March 27. “We’re promoting pecans on social media platforms and preparing for any crisis management issue that might arise. We measure our progress every day in terms of how well does one recipe track with consumers over another. We are very cognizant of how significant your assessment dollars are.” Yaffee said the firm has already reached 145 million people with only a few months of preliminary outreach before the campaign began in April. The campaign includes digital advertising and national media integration via media partnerships and social media influencers to promote the health benefits of pecans. The APC is teaming up with two of America’s top digital platforms, Serious Eats and Simply
Recipes, which will feature “shoppable” pecan recipes that make it easy for consumers to buy pecans via Amazon Fresh – a first for a commodity board.
Pecan growers and shellers in the states where pecans are commercially grown – Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas – passed a referendum in 2016 to fund a federal marketing order (FMO) that created the APC and will fund the marketing campaign. The pecan FMO is patterned after those U.S. almond and walnut growers have had for years. Georgia is well-represented on the APC. Trent Mason of Fort Valley, Buck Paulk of Ray City and Molly Willis of Albany represent various sized growers for the APC Eastern Region which consists of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina. Jeff Worn of Valdosta and Larry Willson of Albany represent shellers for the eastern region. Angie Ellis of Georgia Farm Bureau News
Vienna, Randy Hudson of Ocilla and Claire Powell of Bainbridge are grower alternates. Kenny Tarver of Glennville is a sheller alternate. The APC office is in Fort Worth, Texas. The national pecan campaign is being funded by an assessment the APC collects from growers who produce 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans or more in the last four years or have 30 acres or more of pecans. The APC assessment rate is 3 cents per inshell pound on improved pecan varieties and two cents per inshell pound on native, seedling and substandard pecans. U.S. pecan growers annually harvest about 300 million pounds. Georgia pecan growers usually average an annual harvest of about 100 million pounds or one-third of the national crop. In comparison, U.S. almond growers produce around 2 billion pounds annually and U.S. walnut growers harvest about 1 billion pounds a year. Almonds and walnuts have had federal marketing orders for decades that are attributed with increasing demand for the nuts. U.S. pecan growers have planted thousands of acres of new trees in recent years due to increased demand for pecans from China and an expected increase in demand here.
Ott to lead APC
In related news, the APC announced May 8 that Alexander Ott of California will begin serving as executive director of the council July 1. Ott will oversee the APC’s domestic marketing and research programs for pecans along with the council’s efforts to collect industry data, oversee pecan grades, standards and packaging as outlined by the federal marketing order for pecans that established the APC. Ott was serving as Ott executive director of the California Apple Commission, the California Olive Committee and the California Blueberry Commission when he was selected to lead the APC. He has 14 years of experience working with agriculture commodity organizations, which includes serving as director of government relations for the California Grape & Tree Fruit League. Prior to that, Ott represented California Assemblyman Mike Briggs on agriculture and water policy. He also served as a field representative for former U.S. Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and California Assemblyman Keith Olberg. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Time is running out for Georgia farmers to be counted in the 2017 Ag Census being conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. NASS employees are already following up with producers who have not completed the census via phone calls or on-farm visits. Georgia producers can respond to the census by mail or online at www.agcounts.usda.gov. The federal law that requires all who receive a
census form to complete it, also mandates that all information NASS collects will be kept confidential. All numbers are reported in terms of counties or states to prevent disclosing the identity of an individual or farm. Responses are also needed from landowners who lease their land to farmers. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture or for help, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call toll-free 888-424-7828.
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June 2018 / 19
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Planning classroom visits
GFB members pose with the produce fact boxes they made in a workshop led by GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Melissa Bottoms & Heather Cabe. More photos are available at www.gfb.photos/18ELConf.
GFB plants seeds for Harvest 20
By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________________________________________________
eorgia Farm Bureau members and county staff attending the organization’s annual educational/ leadership conference gained skills to implement the components of GFB’s Harvest 20 Vision - Inspire, Educate & Preserve - in their local communities. “We are rapidly moving along with implementing the Harvest 20 Vision,” GFB President Gerald Long said while addressing conference attendees. “Today we are planting the seeds that will lead us to a bountiful crop for our Harvest 20 Vision. When we talk about planting the seeds of our Harvest 20 Vision, our state and county women’s committees are right at the top of the effort.”
Conference keynote speaker Jane Herlong set a positive tone for the conference with a hilarious motivational speech. Herlong shared four principles she learned growing up on a tomato farm near Charleston. Principle 1: Never say never. “What I’ve learned is, if you’re in agriculture, you have to be positive and you have to never say never,” Herlong said. Principle 2: Find your shine. “I learned picking tomatoes that you’ve got to find your shine. What do you do best? Find it and shine at it. Shiny starts on the inside,” Herlong shared. Principle 3: Cull what's holding you back. 20 / June 2018
“If you’re going to be successful you have to get rid of whatever is holding you back,” Herlong recommended. “Don’t settle for second best.” Principle 4: Plow up the bad or plow through it with humor. “When you have a bad crop are you going to plow it up or plow through it? My daddy did both. I’ve seen him plow up a bad crop and replant it, and I’ve seen him plow through a tough crop. Having a sense of humor will see you through either way. Herlong “Trying it again when things go wrong is the spirit of agriculture. You have to be the person God made you to be. Shine, cull and plow to get there,” Herlong said. Conference attendees broke into four groups that rotated through workshops focused on how to take agriculture into schools. “The success of Farm Bureau’s agricultural literacy efforts in our classrooms is a direct result of our volunteers,” GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Carol McQueen said. “They chose to come to this conference to better their programs. Each workshop was designed to help our volunteers and inspire them.”
Harris County Office Manager Linda Luttrell and GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Heather Cabe and Melissa Bottoms taught conference attendees how to get into classrooms to talk about agriculture and what to do once there. Luttrell said she got her foot in the door to visit elementary schools by meeting with the county school superintendent and sharing her plan for talking to students about ag. “He loved the idea because it was free and met curriculum standards,” Luttrell said. “You can also start by meeting with a principal or start with a teacher you know. Most schools have a volunteer program you could sign up for to get in the door.” Once county Farm Bureaus have gained access to a teacher’s class, Luttrell recommends Farm Bureau representatives meet with the teacher(s) when they are planning their yearly curriculum to match your ag lessons to their schedule and the class objectives they teach. She encouraged Farm Bureau volunteers to serve fruit & vegetables grown in Georgia during class visits. “Students can relate if you give them something to eat. I ask them to take at least three bites. The first bite may be the yuck bite. Then I ask them to try it two more times. If they still don’t like it after the third bite, then that’s ok,” Luttrell said. “Parents are now calling teachers wanting to know why their kids want broccoli or fresh peaches.” Bottoms and Cabe discussed resources Farm Bureau volunteers can take into classes to talk about farming. Bottoms led workshop participants in making a fact cube about fruit and vegetables using the GFB Ag Mag about Georgia Specialty Crops. Cabe discussed the Forestry Traveling Trunks the Destination Ag program makes available to county Farm Bureaus through a grant from the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation. County Farm Bureaus can obtain the forestry trunks from their GFB district field representatives.
Reading is Awesome! GFB Field Representatives Lauren Goble, 6th District, and Rebecca Jacobs, 3rd District, introduced a new approach to reading ag books to classes. Goble and Jacobs suggested Farm Bureau volunteers Georgia Farm Bureau News
Hall GROWS. So Can You! Hall County Farm Bureau (HCFB) Young Farmer Committee Chairman Caroline Lewallen and HCFB Office Manager Justine Palmer gave an overview of their Ag in the Classroom (AITC) program, Hall Grows Real Opportunities with Students (GROWS). Lewallen shared how her county Farm Bureau branded their AITC program to make it relatable to their community. “We branded our program as Hall GROWS to try to open doors of our local schools to us,” Lewallen said. “We try to highlight commodities grown in our county to keep the program local.” Since HCFB began its program in August 2016, it has reached at least 3,300 Hall County residents. Palmer said she continues to cultivate relationships with Hall County business and civic leaders to build support for and awareness of HallGROWS. “We started attending all sorts of meetings to get Hall County Farm Bureau’s name out there and the message that we do Ag in the Classroom programs,” Palmer said. “Cultivating these relationships is something that is very important for reaching our goals. The point is to reach 17,000 students in our community, and we can’t do it alone.” HCFB has hosted several Ag Educator Workshops offered by the GFB Field Services Department to introduce teachers to the AITC program. This spring, HCFB held a workshop for YMCA leaders to equip them to teach gardening in their summer and afterschool programs. HCFB stays connected with the teachers who attended the workshops via a HallGROWS newsletter. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo courtesy Colquitt County Farm Bureau.
do a hands-on activity with students to reinforce the information the book presents. Activities and lessons to accompany accurate ag books, which volunteers can use to promote about 20 Georgia commodities or ag topics, are available at http://gfb.ag/elc18 Workshop attendees had the chance to be kids and do four hands-on activities including making edible compost using cereal, chocolate chips, dried fruit, pretzels and gummy worms. Each ingredient represents something that can be added to a compost pile. Other activities included making butter, no-bake pumpkin pie and honey fruit dip. On April 13, the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee visited an Augusta school to talk about farming. Committee member Greta Collins was among the committee members who taught students about planting seeds.
GFB Field Services staff discussed how county Farm Bureaus can set up a county-specific fund within the foundation so local businesses can make tax deductible donations to support ag literacy efforts in their county. This is a statewide initiative to build relationships between the foundation and counties to help fund Ag in the Classroom
programs in counties. Contact the GFB Field Services Dept. at 478-474-8411 for information on how a county Farm Bureau can set up a fund through the GFB Foundation to finance local ag literacy projects. Contact Justine Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-5363461 for more information on the Hall GROWS program.
Log on to Georgia811.com to use our eRequest application or simply dial 811 at least 2 business days before you begin ANY digging project to have utility lines marked AND help protect yourself from injury and expense.
June 2018 / 21
Ga. National Fair will showcase live cow & sow births By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________________________________________________
airy cows bred in January and sows that will be bred in June will be the star attractions at this year’s Georgia National Fair (GNF). People who have never seen a cow or sow give birth will be able to watch the miracle at the Georgia Grown Baby Barn. Members of Georgia’s livestock community, GNF Directors and state officials gathered April 11 for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility being built at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. “It’s a ginormous undertaking because we’re dealing with live cows and swine,” Ga. Dept. of Agriculture Marketing Director Jack Spruill said of the plans to have one cow calve each day of the fair and five sows farrow throughout the fair. Spruill said there will be an app fair attendees can download to their phones to receive notifications when a birth is eminent. “We get asked ‘What time do I come see the babies being born?’ ” Spruill said. “The answer is ‘Lord only knows!’ ” Spruill said the GDA opted to spotlight the live births of dairy calves and piglets after visiting the Minnesota State Fair, which has had a birthing center for several years. “Mama cows delivering a baby calf score a 10 with the crowd in Minnesota while a sow is a seven,” Spruill said. “It surprised me that sheep only score a two or three. So, the obvious choice was to have cows and sows.” 22 / June 2018
The GDA will feature dairy cows in the birthing center since they have daily interaction with people in the milking barn and are less likely to be spooked by the many fairgoers expected to gather to watch them calve. The cows will come from a Middle Georgia dairy. Spruill said the sows will give birth in farrowing crates. “I grew up in the hog business,” Spruill said. “There’s nothing more disheartening than to have a sow lay on her piglets. There is no livestock producer who doesn’t care for and love their livestock because the animals are their livelihood.” The baby barn is expected to have bleacher seating for up to 300 people, Spruill said, but standing room and a projection screen will accommodate up to 800 people. The baby barn will be staffed with veterinarians at all times to monitor the animals and assist with the births if needed. “I wasn’t completely sold on this barn until I visited the fair in Minnesota and saw their [birthing] barn,” Georgia National Fair Executive Director Stephen Shimp said. “When the first calf dropped and I heard the crowd erupt like the [UGA] stadium in Athens, I was sold.” The Georgia General Assembly approved legislation in 2017 that cleared the way for the $2.4 million birthing center to be financed by bonds. “Georgia is incredibly fortunate to have
Photo by Farrah Newberry
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Georgia Grown Baby Barn being built at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter was held April 11. For more photos, visit www.gfb.photos/babybarngroundbreaking.
legislators who support Georgia agriculture. We’re also fortunate to have Gov. Nathan Deal in office due to his support of Georgia agriculture,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. Morgan County dairy producer Everett Williams was among the livestock leaders participating in the ceremony. “People are curious about what happens on farms,” said Everett, who serves as president of the Georgia Milk Producers Inc. “I think it’s great this barn will give so many people who don’t realize what goes on on a farm a chance to see a live birth this close.” Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Tom McCall was part of the Georgia delegation that visited the Minnesota State Fair birthing center. McCall said Minnesota fairgoers started lining up when the fair opened at 9 a.m. to get into the center. “The whole purpose of this place [Georgia Agricenter] is to educate kids and teach them about agriculture,” McCall said. “That’s why it’s important the Georgia legislature funded this barn to give kids and parents who have never had the chance to see a live farm birth to have this experience.” McCall compared the atmosphere in the Minnesota fair birthing center to that of a football game. “When that baby calf hit the ground, it’s like a touchdown has been scored at a Georgia/Georgia Tech game,” McCall said. “Those people took up to four hours out of their day at the fair to watch a live birth. It’s a big deal. Georgia National Fair Board Vice Chairman Foster Rhodes said the opening of the baby barn is another example of the fair board staying true to its mission of serving the young people of Georgia. “I can remember in the late 1980s when we had a ground breaking for this facility. I’ve been here over 30 years and I’m as excited about this groundbreaking as I was the first,” Rhodes said. “If you can’t be anywhere else the first Thursday in October when the fair opens, please come and be part of the grand opening of this facility.” Georgia Farm Bureau News
young farmer & rancher update Photo by Jay Stone
By Erin Nessmith, Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator
GFB YF&R Program has strong presence at 90th Georgia FFA Convention Georgia Farm Bureau and its Young Farmers and Ranchers Program proudly supported the 90th Georgia FFA Convention held April 26 through April 28 in Macon. In addition to sponsoring a convention concert performed by Nashville singer Frankie Ballard, GFB participated in the convention trade show, sponsored the state FFA Discussion Meet and provided Living to Serve t-shirts FFA members wore while doing community service projects around Macon. The GFB YF&R display was a popular stop at the convention trade show. FFA members who completed the Farm Bureau Scavenger Hunt won a GFB “Working in Acres not Hours” t-shirt. FFA students had fun posting photos of themselves on Instagram with the GFB YF&R photo frame, FFA members from other chapters, an FFA advisor and a state officer. In addition to meeting GFB staff, students had the chance to enter a drawing to win backstage passes to meet Frankie Ballard. Congratulations to Harris County FFA member Addison Jones, who won the passes! The GFB YF&R Committee sponsored and led the annual FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event held April 27. Twelve students who won their area competitions earlier this year competed in the
state contest. GFB YF&R State Committee Chairman Dustin Covington and GFB 1st District Chair Ben Cagle and GFB 7th District Chair J.D. Newton along with GFB staff moderated and judged the competition. Emily Leonard of the Echols County FFA Chapter won the event. The three finalists were: Ty Kim, Hart County FFA, Dakota Daniel, Cairo FFA and Mary Logan Tostenson, Colquitt County FFA. The conversation and discussion proved to be thought-provoking. This competition is a great reminder of the young leaders we have coming along in Georgia’s ag community. The GFB YF&R Program sponsored the 6th General Session held the last morning of convention. More than 800 students received the coveted State FFA Degree during the session. As Tyler Robinson, outgoing state FFA South Region VP, chaired the session, he talked about the natural transition of graduating from FFA into the GFB YF&R Program. Robinson, who just finished his freshman year at ABAC, shared his experience of being involved with the GFB YF&R program and encouraged students to join Farm Bureau. GFB debuted its FFA to YF&R membership video during the 6th session. The video shows Robinson, in his official FFA uniform,
Emily Leonard of Echols County FFA, second from left, won the 2018 FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event. Finalists in the annual contest sponsored by the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Program were, from left, Ty Kim of Hart County FFA, Mary Logan Tostenson of Colquitt County FFA and Dakota Daniel of Cairo FFA. Visit www. gfb.photos/18gaffaconv to view more photos.
saying goodbye to his parents. After Robinson opens the front door of his home, he reappears in a GFB YF&R shirt walking to a tractor. The message of the video is, “The FFA was my foundation. Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers keeps me growing!” The eight outgoing state FFA officers were presented with GFB memberships. GFB YF&R is excited to continue supporting the Georgia FFA Association.
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In recognition of their year of service to Georgia FFA, GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Erin Nessmith, far left, presented Farm Bureau memberships to the outgoing 2017-2018 Georgia FFA officers – back row from left, Tucker Felkins, Brooks Fletcher, Tyler Robinson, Hinckley Hood, Jake Harris and front row from left, Katibeth Mims, Rebecca Wallace and LauraBeth Bland. Visit www.gfb.ag/FFA2YFR to view a video that debuted at the convention encouraging FFA members to join the GFB YF&R program.
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June 2018 / 23
peeches from a presidential cabinet member and Gov. Nathan Deal, a concert by a platinum recording artist, community service projects and state competitions highlighted the 90th Annual Georgia FFA Convention held April 26-28 at the Macon Centreplex. A record crowd of more than 6,000 attended the event. Georgia Farm Bureau was a major supporter of the
convention. Nashville recording artist Frankie Ballard brought his country stylings to about 800 FFA members in an April 27 concert GFB sponsored. GFB provided the “Living to Serve” t-shirts worn by almost 1,000 students doing service projects in Macon and sponsored the FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event (CDE) won by Emily Leonard of Echols County.
Photo by Jay Stone
Ga. FFA celebrates 90 years By Jay Stone ______________________________________
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue gave the keynote address for the opening general session on April 26, delivering a message of persistence. Perdue shared the story of author J.K. Rowling, who received numerous rejections of her work before reaching worldwide fame with her Harry Potter Series. “It’s easy to get frustrated,” Perdue said. “It’s possible to rise above that frustration and succeed.” Perdue illustrated his point using a jar of beans and a walnut. The walnut rests on top of the beans until the jar is shaken, when it moves down into the beans. With constant movement, Perdue moved the walnut back to the top. “Things happen, and your world gets turned upside-down, and you just get smothered there, as if everything is piling in on top of you and you don’t know what to do,” Perdue said. “What happens? You know, you just keep on going. The walnut came to the top because it’s bigger on the inside than anything else in the jar. When things don’t go your way, the natural reaction goes like this for most people: blame, pity party, resentment, jealousy, bitterness. It takes everything out of you and you start to shrink inside. But as a human being, you have the power to choose to think differently. When you choose to think differently, you’re going to grow from the inside out, and that growth doesn’t depend on your circumstances.” 24 / June 2018
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue used a jar containing beans and a walnut to underscore the importance of persistence during his speech at the opening session of the Georgia FFA Convention. Visit www.gfb.photos/18gaffaconv to view more photos.
Living to Serve
Before any of the formal convention events, almost 1,000 FFA members from around the state worked on service projects across Macon including weeding and planting raised-bed gardens at the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, repainting a dozen local homes and performing
Photo by Jay Stone
Perdue to Georgia FFA: overcome frustration with persistence
landscaping work at local parks. “It shows the men, women and children who live here that they have community support and that they have worth,” said Rescue Mission Development Coordinator Amy Walker. “It means so much when people come and do volunteer work. We can’t do it without them. Students from Henry County schools Ola, Hampton and Locust Grove worked on the gardens at the Rescue Mission, which provides housing, training and various forms of service to more than 50 men, women and children. The students weeded the gardens and planted vegetables to provide produce for the Rescue Mission kitchen, which serves more than 200 meals per day to people in need. “I really think it’s great helping the community because you’re becoming a part of it,” said Locust Grove FFA member Kevin Poole. “You’re not just standing aside, you’re being active. You’re helping yourself by helping other people.” Other students from numerous schools, including Coahulla Creek FFA, Haralson County, Rabun County and Dade County worked on more than a dozen houses doing repair projects and painting. See FFA next page
Almost 1,000 FFA members participated in numerous service projects around Macon on April 26. Ola High School FFA students (clockwise from front left) Kaylee Moss, Courtney Bixby, Isabella McDaniel and Sarah Perez weed a raised-bed garden at the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia Georgia Farm Bureau News
Deal signs FFA expansion bill into law An idea that originated with two former FFA members was signed into state law April 27 at the 90th Annual Georgia FFA Convention. Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 330 in a ceremony during one of the general sessions at the convention, culminating a process that began in late 2016 with Gordon Lee High School students Emily Potter and Dalton Green. “This piece of legislation puts into statute what FFA really has been doing for a very long time,” Deal said. “It puts it in a format where it can’t be tampered with very easily without changing the law.” SB 330, titled the “Green Agricultural Education Act,” amends the already existing Quality Basic Education Act, to set up a pilot program to expand agricultural education into elementary schools. Currently, Georgia FFA only has chapters at the middle school and high school levels. SB 330 calls for a minimum of six elementary schools around the state to participate in the pilot program to determine whether and how an FFA from previous page
Awards & leaders
During the convention, 501 students competed in eight state contests designed to help students develop future career skills. Georgia FFA announced its state membership has topped 42,000, marking the 19th straight year of membership growth. The Georgia FFA Association is the third largest state association in the U.S. The 2018-2019 Georgia FFA Officer Team was announced at the closing session. The new team consists of: President Bryce Roland from Perry; Secretary Clay Parker from Lowndes County; North Region Vice-Presidents Dos Harper from Newton County Career Academy and Ava Jane Teasley from Eastside; Central Region Vice-Presidents Brittany Braddy from Montgomery County and Thomas Maddox from Veterans; and South Region Vice-Presidents Dawson Adams from Coffee County and Emily Leonard from Echols County. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
By Jay Stone _____________________________________
Gov. Nathan Deal, seated, right, signed Senate Bill 330 at the Georgia FFA Convention. The bill originated with students Emily Potter, far left, and Dalton Green, far right.
elementary agriculture education program could be implemented statewide. The pilot is to begin with the 20192020 school year and will last three years, after which the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) will report the results to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Potter, now a UGA student studying agricultural education, noticed a knowledge gap among younger students. “We put on a farm to fork camp at our local elementary school the two years prior to coming up with the bill,” Potter said. “They knew the animals and plants and
vegetables, but didn’t know how to connect that to the farm.” Potter shared the idea with Green, who had worked on the re-election campaign of state Sen. Jeff Mullis. The two of them presented the idea to Mullis in December 2016 and by the 2017 session of the Georgia Legislature they had a bill introduced. It did not pass that year, but with some modifications it was reintroduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee in 2018. “I’m really hoping this will open up other opportunities for students,” Green said. See FFA EXPANSION page 30
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www.gfb.ag/newsalert June 2018 / 25
around georgia news from county farm bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker
More county Farm Bureau activities are featured on the Friends of Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook group page at www.gfb.ag/group. Join the group to get county news as it occurs!
BACON COUNTY------------------------------------- Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) has been working with students at Bacon County Elementary & Primary Schools to plant spring garden boxes. Members of the BCFB Reading Brigade – Terry Davis, Peggy Lee, Charity Miles, Faith Miller, Sherrie Moore, Linda Rowland and Marie Wildes, pictured, read “Oh, Say Can You Seed” by Bonnie Worth to all of the classes. The volunteers then helped the students plant a squash seed in small cups to take home and a pea seed in a larger cup to grow in the classroom. BCFB Directors Ben Lott & Brandon Wade prepared the school garden boxes & BCFB gave each class cabbage, bell pepper and carrot plants to be planted in their gardens along with bush beans.
BROOKS COUNTY----------------------------------- Brooks County Farm Bureau (BCFB) held a lunch for senior Brooks County High School FFA students this spring. GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Erin Nessmith discussed the importance of education and ag careers and encouraged the FFA members to join the GFB YF&R program after they graduate. Pictured from left are BCFB President Kurt Childers, BCFB Director Clint Webb, Erin Nessmith, BCHS Senior FFA Members, Brooks County Extension Agent Stephanie Hollifield and BCHS FFA Advisor Matt Howell. CHEROKEE COUNTY---------- Cherokee County Farm Bureau teamed up with the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce to host a Meet-the-Candidates Forum May 1 at Cagle’s Family Farm. Attendees had the chance to hear 26 / June 2018
from candidates seeking local, state and national offices this year. DODGE COUNTY ----------------------------------- To celebrate Earth Day, Dodge County Office Manager Elaine Cunningham taught a reading program for toddlers at Murrell Memorial Library. Cunningham read the book “Earth Day, Birthday!” supervised the kids in painting the Earth on a paper plate and guided the kids in making an edible “dirt” snack.
EMANUEL COUNTY--------------------------------- Preschool students at David Emanuel Academy have a better understanding of how a garden grows thanks to Emanuel County Farm Bureau. ECFB Women’s Committee members Judy Garrett, left, and Donna Nasworthy, right, helped the students plant vegetables, flowers and sweet potatoes in their school garden. The kids enjoyed digging in the dirt and planting their vegetables. GREENE COUNTY Greene County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee members Zeb Duvall, Evan Duvall and Samantha Dunagan cooked hamburgers for the Lake Country Livestock Invitational Judging in March. The Greene County Extension office hosted the event for several FFA & 4-H Livestock Judging teams from across Georgia. HENRY COUNTY------------------------------------ This spring Henry County Farm Bureau (HCFB) partnered with Southern Belle Farms to teach students how seeds sprout. HCFB volunteers manned the “Garden in a Glove” activity staGeorgia Farm Bureau News
tion each Friday from April 20 until May 18 as elementary students came to the farm for field trips. HCFB member Eleanor Toppins is shown helping students make their glove gardens. Other HCFB volunteers included Nancy Craig, Jean Dykes, Frank Hapgood, Judy Land, Ross & Carol McQueen, and Clark & Carolyn Runion. The volunteers helped students put a cup of soil in the glove, plant pea or bean seeds in the glove fingers and water the seeds. The tied glove serves as a greenhouse for the seeds to sprout. HARRIS COUNTY----------------------------------- This spring, Harris County Farm Bureau taught fourth graders about the importance of planting plants in their school vegetable garden that attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, so the vegetable plants will be pollinated to produce vegetables. MACON COUNTY----------------------------------- The Macon County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee observed Ag Week by visiting Macon County Elementary School March 20 to read ag books to students. After reading the books, the committee members did hands-on activities with the students to reinforce the ag lesson of each book. Women’s Committee members who volunteered as readers were: Women’s Chairman Marilyn McLendon, Ellen Chase, pictured, Patsy Newberry, Lisa Slaton and MCFB Office Manager Amy R. Parker. MADISON COUNTY-------------------------------- Madison County Farm Bureau (MCFB) celebrated Ag Week by hosting a “My Plate is Georgia Grown” reception at the courthouse serving only foods grown in and around the county. MCFB Junior Board Member Cory Yarbrough, picGeorgia Farm Bureau News
tured, helped with the event. MCFB also held a breakfast during Ag Week for FFA seniors to introduce them to GFB’s Young Farmer & Rancher Program. MCFB President Thomas Harrell and GFB Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator Erin Nessmith spoke to the FFA seniors. MARION COUNTY---------------------------------- Marion County Farm Bureau teamed up with the Marion County High School FFA to host a Farm Day at L.K. Moss Elementary School in May. About 675 pre-K through 5th grade students learned about farming as they rotated through numerous exhibits highlighting different crops and farm animals. MCFB Office Manager Dory Walker handed out gift bags with pencils, ag coloring books and cotton samples to the students and their teachers on behalf of MCFB.
STEPHENS COUNTY-------------------------------- Stephens County Farm Bureau (SCFB) held a breakfast May 10 to honor 4-H and FFA members graduating from high school. Georgia Sen. John Wilkinson, center, shared words of wisdom and encouragement with the students as they prepare for this new chapter in their lives. Wilkinson chairs the Georgia Senate Agriculture Committee. Students are also pictured with SCFB Office Manager Dawn Jameson, SCFB Women’s Chair Sonya Stovall, SCFB Director & School Board Member Mark Smith, SCFB Director Andy Hicks, CTAE Director Cindy Phillips, Senior Guidance Counselor Becky Jameson, 4-H Volunteer Lisa Thomas, FFA Advisor Nicole Roper, SCFB Director Jeff Watkins and SCFB President Mark Wilkinson. THOMAS COUNTY---------------------------------- Thomas County Farm Bureau recently donated $1,000 to the Thomas County Middle School FFA program. Pictured from right, TCFB Office Manager Sandra Braswell presents the donation to TCMS FFA member Colby Brown & TCMS FFA Advisor Audrey Davis. See AROUND GEORGIA next page June 2018 / 27
GFB Foundation for Ag awards $13,500 in grants The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is teaming up with county Farm Bureaus and 4-H or FFA clubs in 17 counties to fund projects that will increase the public’s understanding of agriculture or foster leadership development for county Farm Bureau members. Recipients of GFB Foundation grants for 2018 were named in May. A total of $13,500 was awarded to 17 county Farm Bureaus, two 4-H clubs and two FFA chapters. The Colquitt, Floyd and Newton County Farm Bureaus each received one of the three $1,000 grants available. These counties plan to use their grant funds to buy an egg incubator and teach a poultry unit at a local elementary school, purchase hydroponic gardening supplies to work with a local elementary school, and fund a series of workshops to educate teachers about the Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Program. Banks, Cherokee, Jeff Davis, Randolph, Turner and Union County Farm Bureau each received one of six grants offered at the $750 level. These counties will use their grants to develop future county Farm Bureau leaders, plant a school orchard, install a chicken coop and purchase an enviroscape watershed model to teach students how farmers take care of the environment. Eight grants of $500 each were awarded to the Baldwin, Bibb, Effingham, Habersham, Harris, Paulding, Stephens and Walker County Farm Bureaus. These counties plan to plant school gardens, provide resource materials for students to learn how worms improve soil quality or provide traveling “barns” stocked with AITC resources including lesson plans and activities to be used by local elementary schools. Stephens County plans to implement its Stephens Growing Real Opportunities With Students (GROWS) program based on the HallGROWS model. Four grants of $500 each were awarded to Coffee County FFA, Crawford County 4-H, East Jackson Middle FFA and Mitchell County 4-H. The Crawford and Mitchell County 4-H Clubs plan to use their grants to fund gardening programs for 4-Hers. Coffee County FFA will use its grant to buy resources to expand its annual Ag Literacy Day. East Jackson Middle FFA plans to build an outdoor classroom next to its raised garden bed. The GFB Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit charitable foundation that funds projects to increase the public’s understanding of agriculture, offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in agriculture and funds leadership development programs. Visit www.gfbfoundation.org to make a tax-deductible donation or to learn more about the foundation.
28 / June 2018
AROUND GEORGIA from previous page TOOMBS COUNTY----------------------------------- Toombs County Farm Bureau (TCFB) hosted a two-day farm tour for students at Cornerstone Children’s Center to teach them how farmers grow vegetables and about the equipment farmers use. The students visited Lasseter Tractor Company in Lyons and the farms of TCFB President Chris Hopkins and Pittman’s Country Market & Family Farm. At the Pittmans’ Farm, the students got to pull carrots from the ground. TROUP COUNTY------------------------------------- Troup County Farm Bureau (TCFB) partnered with the Roosevelt Soil & Water Conservation District to cosponsor the 30th Annual Youth Field Day last fall. Students rotated through stations covering beekeeping, soils, forestry, paper making, watershed management, wetlands and wildlife. Almost 170 third and fourth graders from two local elementary schools attended the event. TCFB members helping with the event included TCFB Vice President Joel Keith and TCFB members Henry Jones, Marc Jones, Skyler Jones, Forrest Hill & Brian Maddy, who is shown teaching students how to plant seeds and care for plants. WASHINGTON COUNTY---------------------------- Washington County Farm Bureau held a farm day in May attended by almost 300 second graders. The students rotated through numerous stations at the Washington County Ag Center highlighting farm animals, forestry, and planting seeds before loading their buses to visit two local farms. WCFB member Ben Williams, pictured, taught students how chicks hatch from eggs and grow into chickens. Students visited the McCoy Farm where they learned how sweet corn is grown and the nutritional importance of eating vegetables. During the stop at the farm of GFB 6th Dist. YF&R Chairs Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock, the students learned how cotton grows, the importance of bees to crops and about farm equipment. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Lauren Goble
Another crop of teachers were introduced to the Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Program during two Ag Educator Workshops held in Laurens and Paulding counties this spring. The workshops, facilitated by Georgia Farm Bureau, taught the teachers how to use agriculture as a subject to fulfill the Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) requirements many schools require. All 19 elementary schools in Paulding County were represented by 26 teachers at the workshop Paulding County Farm Bureau held April 24. GFB staff introduced the kindergarten to fifth-grade teachers to the GFB Specialty Crop Ag Mag and discussed lesson plans and activities the teachers can use to meet teaching requirements while educating students how about Georgia agriculture. The Paulding teachers enjoyed a “Georgia Grown” lunch of chicken salad, veggie pasta salad, fruit salad and strawberry cake catered by the Paulding County High Schools Culinary Arts Department. The workshop ended with a field trip to Spreading Oaks Farm in Paulding County where the teachers learned how the Cook family raises vegetables, beef cattle and free-range chickens that they sell directly to consumers. Another 26 pre-K to fifth-grade teachers from 10 different schools in Middle Georgia learned how to incorporate agriculture into their curriculum during a workshop GFB held at the Heart of Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) May 2. The teachers received numerous teaching materials. After the workshops, the teachers visited the farm of father/son team Wallace and David Dean where they learned how wheat and corn are grown. They learned about growing vegetables while visiting the Dublin Community Garden. County Farm Bureaus interested in holding an Ag Educator Workshop should contact the GFB Field Services Department at 478-474-8411.
Elementary school teachers from across Middle Georgia visited the farm of David & Wallace Dean during a GFB Ag Educator Workshop in Laurens County.
Photo by Tracy Grice
Ag Educator Workshops show teachers how to meet STEM requirements using ag
A group of 26 teachers representing all 19 elementary schools in Paulding County visited the farm of Paulding County Farm Bureau members Ken and Patty Cook during a GFB Ag Educator Workshop.
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June 2018 / 29
GFB brings host of Doc Talk to Ga. Food Animal Conference Livestock farmers in Georgia depend on the relationship they have with their veterinarians. Recognizing this, the veterinary associations and ag organizations hosting the 4th Annual Georgia Food Animal Conference in early May at Callaway Gardens invited livestock producers to join them on the first day of the conference. The theme for workshops on May 4 was “Farmers & Veterinarians – A Team Hard to Beat.” Speakers focused on how farmers and their vets can work together to achieve better herd productivity, health and animal welfare. Georgia Farm Bureau sponsored Dr. Dan Thomson as a speaker for the producer/veterinarian session. Thomson teaches at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, hosts “Doc Talk” on RFD TV, is a former chair of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) for beef cattle production and welfare committee, and is internationally recognized as a leader in beef cattle production and health management.
Thomson’s herd health tips
Thomson’s lighthearted discussion covered animal health, antibiotic use and consumer demographics. Thomson
said pre-conditioning is the best thing cattlemen can do to improve cow health from weaning to harvest. Getting a calf firmly on its own before shipping it to a stockyard will affect its health for the remainder of its life. Thomson advocates castrating bull calves as early as possible. He said extra weight gained from leaving a bull intact doesn’t start until that animal reaches puberty, which is after most cow-calf producers sell the animal.
Antibiotics in meat
In regards to antibiotic use with food animals and the misinformation available to consumers, Thomson pointed out that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration routinely tests for antibiotic residues and that 99.89 percent of all meat that enters the U.S. food supply is free of antibiotic residues. Thomson said the U.S. has the safest food supply in the world because other countries don’t have the FDA monitoring their food supply to ensure health and quality standards are met.
Thomson discussed the lack of connection much of the public has to agriculture and how fear of the unknown
FFA EXPANSION from page 25 Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) and Sens. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), Larry Walker III (R-Perry), Ellis Black (R-Valdosta) and Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) sponsored the bill along with Rep. Robert Dickey. It passed both chambers with unanimously. The bill calls for agricultural education programs to be formatted according to the FFA’s three-part model: 1. classroom instruction; 2. hands-on learning opportunities and 3. leadership and learning opportunities. The bill tasks the Georgia DOE to develop curriculum and standards for the agricultural education program with input from ag education teachers. It also requires the DOE to assign regional ag education coordinators who are certified in agricultural education. Local school systems interested in implementing one of the pilot programs for elementary school agricultural education are encouraged to contact Chip Bridges at email@example.com or 404-656-8311. Applications for the pilot program are due by June 30. SB 330 also requires that any middle or high school that offers one of the State Board of Education approved courses for ag education, must also offer students the chance to participate in FFA supervised agriculture experiences (SAE) and that the schools have an official FFA charter number. 30 / June 2018
Photo by Joe McManus
By Joe McManus _____________________________________________________________________________
Georgia Farm Bureau Beef Committee Chairman Jerry McKinnon, left, visits with Dr. Dan Thomson at the 4th Annual Georgia Food Animal Conference. GFB sponsored Thomson’s speech as the conference focused on how farmers and their vets can work together to achieve better herd health.
and misinformation has shaped some consumers’ opinions. According to the U.S. census, 45.2 percent of American households are unmarried single people age 18 and older. Many of these singles equate all animals the same as pets, which shapes their opinions regarding how livestock are raised. Another interesting statistic regarding consumers is that 25 percent of the U.S. lives in poverty. We often hear the statistic that the average U.S. household spends less than 10 percent of their income on food, which is the lowest rate worldwide. The lower income population of the U.S., however spends about 35 percent of their income on food, and spends much less on meat and fresh vegetables than the average U.S. household. “Farmers produce what man cannot live without,” Thomson said. “We must regain consumer trust.” To do this, Thomson says farmers and ranchers must be open and honest about how they raise their livestock. Consumers want to be informed, and they want to have confidence in their food purchases and know they are a good value. He said food processors and retailers must stop branding food using terminology that confuses and misleads the public. Joe McManus is assistant director of the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-474-0679, ext. 5259. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Rocker retires after 31 years with GFB Five years after the USDA established the Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program in 1981, Georgia Farm Bureau hired Donna Rocker to coordinate its efforts to establish an Ag in the Classroom program in Georgia. Rocker joined the GFB staff on Sept. 22, 1986, and for more than 31 years she recruited and trained county Farm Bureau volunteers to visit schools in their communities to teach students how farmers grow their food. Rocker also developed teaching materials, such as the AITC newsletters and the recent Ag Mags, which GFB published for teachers, and the Kids Corner activity pages that ran in the Georgia Neighbors. Before the current Ag Educator Workshops were established, Rocker held training workshops for teachers
GFB says goodbye to Arnold
After wearing two very different hats during her 15 years with Georgia Farm Bureau, Cindy Arnold retired May 25. When Arnold joined GFB in 2003, she worked four years in the Farm Record Management Program, GFB’s former bookkeeping service for farmers. In 2007, Arnold transferred to the former GFB Commodities & Marketing Department Arnold where she served as senior administrative assistant. Arnold was the contact person at GFB for ordering the cans and small packets of peanuts GFB sells. But Arnold did much more for GFB’s commodity program than this. During her 10 years in the commodities department, Arnold helped schedule and plan meetings for GFB’s 20 commodity advisory committees, the annual GFB Com-
Georgia Farm Bureau News
in partnership with Georgia’s Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESA) to introduce teachers to the AITC curriculum and help them earn required continuing education credits. During her 31 years as GFB’s AITC coordinator, she served on the executive committee of the National AITC organization and currently serves on the NAITCO Public Relations Committee. Rocker began coordinating the GFB Women’s Leadership Program in July 1999. In this role, Rocker led the committee’s efforts to support county Farm Bureaus in their efforts to improve the agricultural literacy of local communities. She coordinated the GFB High School Art and Middle School Essay Contests, and was responsible for the modity Conference and secure commodity speakers for the GFB convention. “Cindy’s work behind the scenes has been invaluable, especially with GFB’s Commodity Advisory Committees and Commodity Conference,” said longtime coworker and friend Joe McManus. “Cindy’s organizational skills made the office flow smoothly and efficiently. She will be dearly missed. Last year, Arnold became the senior administrative assistant for the new GFB Public Policy Department when the organization merged its commodity and legislative departments. Cooking wasn’t in her job description, but Arnold makes a delicious apple pie that she often brought to work for coworkers. Her recipe was featured in the 2015 fall Georgia Neighbors, available at www.gfb.ag/Cindysapplepie. Arnold plans to move back home to the Hawkinsville area where she grew up and spend more time with her parents, Bud, 92, and Elizabeth “Sid”, 87. She’ll also have more time for her adult children, Maria and Joey, and grandchildren, Joshua and Michael. An avid crafter, Arnold looks forward to refurbishing more furniture, sewing, painting and gardening with her partner, Grady Stokes, who propagates and grows camellias.
GFB Scholarship program until it was completely transferred to the GFB Foundation for Agriculture in 2016. She also Rocker represented GFB on the Georgia Centennial Farm Committee and the Farm to School Alliance. Rocker, who grew up in Tifton, Ga., attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, has a B.A. degree in psychology from Georgia College & State University and a master’s in adult education from the University of Georgia. She plans to travel and spend more time with her mother.
Former Ga. House Ag Chairman dies Robert Ray, who served 24 years in the Georgia General Assembly and chaired the Georgia House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee from 2002-2006, died May 29. Georgia Farm Bureau presented Ray its 2004 Commodity Award to honor his contributions to Georgia agriculture. In adRay dition to chairing the ag committee, Ray served on the House Appropriations & Rules Committee. Ray managed the Georgia Farmers Market in Macon from 1971 to 1973 and served as assistant commissioner of agriculture from 1973 to 1978. First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1982, Ray’s district included Crawford County and parts of Bibb, Peach and Houston counties. Ray grew row crops in Crawford and Peach counties and was a lifelong member of the Crawford County Farm Bureau. Ray is survived by his wife, Jennifer; brother, Dr. James Ray; his children Lisa Grovenstein (John); Robin Ray; Bob (Karen) Ray; and Adam (Leah) Ray; their mother, Jean Hortman Ray; and six grandchildren. June 2018 / 31
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The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Farm...
Published on Jun 6, 2018
The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Farm...